Two days after Towson allowed visiting Maine to convert three fourth downs and score the game-winning touchdown in the final minute of a 27-24 loss Saturday night, Tigers coach Rob Ambrose admitted that the pain continues to linger.
Faced with a decision of whether to massage or discipline Towson (2-3 overall, 0-1 Colonial Athletic Association), Ambrose said he remembers to take a page from late Hall of Fame and Orioles manager Earl Weaver's playbook.
"One of the best lessons I ever learned was to listen to Earl Weaver talk about his teams -- his very, very successful teams and all of the different personalities," Ambrose said Monday afternoon during his weekly conference call arranged by the CAA. "He would tell you that once you lose – especially the ones that hurt – you've got to love them up. You've got to remind them who they can be. And when you win, that's the time when you've really got to step on them and say, 'This is what we're not doing.' It's a way to keep them motivated and focused on the next game. So we are honest in our education of what we did right and what we did wrong, and there's probably a little more love in the locker room than there was any harshness."
There was a mix of positive and negative takeaways from Saturday's loss against the Black Bears (2-2, 1-0). Sophomore running back Darius Victor posted his fourth 100-yard effort of the season, rushing for 131 yards and two touchdowns, and senior defensive end Ryan Delaire had a career-best three sacks.
But a stalled offense and generous defense put the Tigers in a 10-point deficit at halftime, and both units wasted opportunities to pad a 24-20 lead in the fourth quarter. Ambrose said the emotional meter for players and coaches is somewhere between humbled and angered.
"These are young guys, and a lot of these guys are experiencing firsthand all these things, and having it smack-dab in your face losing two this year where games got into the fourth quarter but we didn't finish and knowing that you could probably take three plays away, and their availability to understand that in the short term I don't think is quite there yet," he said. "But what they do see is what we've done better and what we haven't done better, and I think they're excited about coming to work on Tuesday. Come Sunday, win, lose or draw, when we're done Saturday, the moment's over. We're not riding the previous week's win or loss. We're focused on the next one, and I don't think they are overly crushed or overly excited. I think they're still learning."